Fleur-de-Lis Fever | Ten Years Later How Ricky Williams Affected New Orleans

for NFLSportChannel.com

Published: April 8, 2009


... Who Dats and casual Saints fans alike on the edge of their seats.  The Saints' brass had rarely made major draft day moves in previous seasons, but now they were putting all of their chips forward.

There was speculation in the days leading up to April 17, 1999 that the Saints would strike a deal with the Redskins if the Colts chose Edgerrin James instead of Ricky Williams.

Sure, the price would be steep, but it would be worth it.  New Orleans' offense had long been a sore spot and its running game considered the weak link.  The Saints had gone the entire 1990s without a 1,000-yard rusher.

Mike Ditka arrived in New Orleans two years prior to this landmark draft,  Owner Tom Benson wanted a big name to succeed Jim Mora, the Saints' most successful coach to date, and got the biggest name out there.

Ditka was supposed to bring New Orleans the same hard-knocks style that he brought to Chicago in the 80s.  In Ditka's first two seasons in...

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